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12 Days to a Safe Christmas!

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Sileo.com Checks Unlimited Home Sileo.com Checks Unlimited Home Page Prevent Holiday Identity Theft It?s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas- at the Mall! Stopping Hackers When You?re Shopping on Wi-Fi Holiday Shopping Quiz ? Is Credit or Debit Smarter? Don?t Tell Facebook You Won?t Be Home for the Holidays Don?t Let the Grinch Steal Your Party! It?s a Wonderful Life?Let?s Keep it That Way What to Give the Person Who has Everything (& Wants to Keep it!) I?m getting Nuttin? (But Scams) for Christmas Beware the Phony Santa Claus Comin? to Town  Is that Holiday Email Really a Lump of Coal? Holiday Security Tips All Wrapped up Together

 

12th Day: Holiday Security Tips All Wrapped up Together

Would you like to give the people you care about some peace on earth during this holiday season? Take a few minutes to pass on our 12 privacy tips that will help them protect their identities, social media, shopping and celebrating over the coming weeks. The more people that take the steps we’ve outlined in the 12 Days of Christmas, the safer we all become, collectively.

Have a wonderful holiday season, regardless of which tradition you celebrate. Now sing (and click) along with us one more time.  

On the 12th Day of Christmas, the experts gave to me:

12 Happy Holidays,

11 Private Emails,

10 Trusted Charities

9 Protected Packages

8 Scam Detectors

7 Fraud Alerts

6 Safe Celebrations

Fiiiiiiiiiiive Facebook Fixes

4 Pay Solutions

3 Stymied Hackers

2 Shopping Tips

And the Keys to Protect My Privacy

John Sileo is an an award-winning author and keynote speaker on identity theft, internet privacy, fraud training & technology defense. John specializes in making security entertaining, so that it works. John is CEO of The Sileo Group, whose clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security & Pfizer. John’s body of work includes appearances on 60 Minutes, Rachael Ray, Anderson Cooper & Fox Business. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.

Don't Have a Fraudulent Valentine's Day

Romance is in the air, but so is fraud.

I hate it when scammers take advantage of you on holidays. In fact, I don’t much like being the person responsible for telling you that fraud goes way up during holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. But it’s my job, and it’s important to me, and you have nothing to worry about if you are using common sense. In case your common sense is lacking due to all of the chocolate, here are some thoughts on Valentines Scams.

In happy and/or busy moments, people tend to let their guard down. Consumers are happier, more trusting, generous and hopeful around Valentine’s Day. This is a good thing. We want people to be happy, in love and celebrating each other.

I just don’t want you to be so distracted that it gives an identity thief an opening to take advantage of you. Around this time there is a rise of online scams, especially where thieves send out malicious links that direct you to a site where you are tricked into giving personal information.

The problem with malicious links is that they appear to be sent by someone you trust, especially when they come from a friend on Facebook or another social netowork. Most people click on them because they look like they are from a friend, legitimate company, bank, or other business that you have dealt with in the past. Also, around Valentines day, the message might appear to be from a  flower, candy or gift company that is giving you some amazing offer, and all you have to do is click!

While these malicious links can be sent by email most people don’t realize you can get them via Facebook, Twitter, IM, or even text message. Scammers have gotten more sneaky and creative with their methods of attack. With Valentines Day right around the corner they will be disguised as friends or businesses tapping into your romantic, loving, and trusting side.

Watch out for companies offering you 50% off on 1-800-flowers if you purchase them from their (phony) site. Maybe it’s a free offer from Match.com or link a “friend” has sent to check out the best Valentine’s Day gifts this year. In other words, just be extra careful about anything you click on that has to do with the holiday. You are better off typing the URL of where you want to go (flower store, chocolates, etc.) in the address bar.

Here are a few ways that criminals hid Malicious links so that you have a harder time spotting them:

  • A slight misspelled version of a trusted URL
  • Using a URL shortener (Tiny, bit.ly) to hide the actual URL
  • Use simple HTML formatting to hide the real URL. This is very common and hard to spot because while you are clicking on www.firstbank.com it is actually a dangerous link in disguise that takes you to a malicious site.

Here are a few ways that you can protect yourself for being duped this Valentine’s Day.,

  1. Always type the website you wish to visit directly into the browser. Do not click on a link and just assume that it is safe.
  2. Don’t click on anything that has been sent from someone you don’t know or from someone you do know but seems out of character.
  3. Don’t click on anything that said it was sent by your bank or any other bank. Call the bank up directly to verify the email and type their web address into your browser.
  4. Don’t click on a link that says it is an urgent situation. Many times, scammers will try to scare you into thinking you have to click now or something bad will happen. That is never the case. Call the company directly on their known phone number to handle the situation.
  5. And most importantly, unlike true love, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Research it further.

On this Valentines Day, make sure that you don’t get swept up in the moment and taken advantage of by a scammer. No matter what the holiday is, always make sure that you are thinking with your head and not just with your heart when protecting your most important asset… your identity.

John Sileo loves Valentine’s Day because he gets to celebrate with his wife, whom he has had a crush on since he was 8. He is the author of Privacy Means Profit and earns his keep delivering highly motivational identity theft speeches.

Identity Theives Don't Take A Holiday

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The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the biggest shopping time of the year. As we enter the season of giving there is one thing we should be stingy with – protecting our Identities!

Holiday madness, crazed shoppers and packed malls. While we are bustling from store to store and internet site to internet site trying to complete everyone’s holiday list, thieves and scammers are taking our distraction as a signal to strike. According to the author of Privacy Means Profit and identity theft expert John Sileo, “This is the easiest time of year for thieves to steal wallets, break into houses and profit financially from the season of giving without victims detecting it for a long time.”

With just three weeks until Christmas, now is the time to protect yourself and make sure that your Identity is safe from potential thieves. Just last month, Sileo was hired to speak to the Department of Defense and included some of the most important Holiday Safety Prevention Tips:

* Don’t trust your email. There are so many holiday scams by email that you should read everything with an enormous grain of salt. If someone is promising you something for nothing (free gift, free money, etc.), don’t buy it.
* Protect your home. Your greatest risk during the busyness is all of the extra people that come into your home. It makes it very easy to pocket a check book that’s on your desk or a brokerage statement in your filing cabinet. Especially during the holidays, lock it up!
* Use your credit card. Don’t use checks and don’t use a debit card, as they don’t give you nearly as much protection.
* Carry less in your wallet. It is too easy to steal a purse that is sitting at your feet as you pay or have lunch. The very best advice is to take your drivers license and one or two credit cards with you shopping.
* Watch your statements. Most forms of holiday identity theft can be caught simply by monitoring your checking, debit and credit card accounts frequently. Even better, sign up for automatic account alerts when any transaction occurs on your account.
* Give yourself the gift of Identity Monitoring.
* Shop on secure websites. Make sure that both the https:// and lock symbols appear in your browser.
* Be cautious in public. Don’t give your credit card number (or Social Security Number) over the phone if someone is within earshot.  Shield your PIN number when entering it at an ATM or card swipe.
* Donate to known charities and only when you have initiated the gift. Don’t respond to phone calls for charity.
* Rotate your credit cards. After the busy holiday shopping season is over, call your credit card company and ask them to issue you a new card (you can tell them that you are concerned that your credit card number was stolen).
* Don’t advertise travel plans to burglars on Social Networking sites.

Distraction is the worst enemy when it comes to crime and the holidays. In addition to spending more money, we tend to be busier, more stressed-out and less careful than other times of the year.  Identity thieves take advantage of this distraction to perform information extraction.

Identity theft expert John Sileo speaks around the world on identity theft, privacy, social networking exposure, cyber crime, social engineering and other forms of information theft. His clients include the Department of Defense, Blue Cross, FDIC, Pfizer and hundreds of organizations of all sizes. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076 or at www.ThinkLikeASpy.com.

Scrooge’s Top 10 Holiday ID Theft Protection Tips

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“Might I have another lump of coal for the fire, Mr. Scrooge?”
                                  -Bob Cratchit (Dickens’ A Christmas Carol)

What in the world do we have to learn from Ebenezer Scrooge about protecting our identities during the busy holiday season?

Plenty!

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